Monday, September 25, 2006

rockies and edmonton

It’s been a while since I last updated and it would probably be a good idea to write about Canada before heading off to Australia which will happen in about 48 hours!
For the Labour Day long weekend, I went camping with Karen, a friend from high school. We headed off early Thursday morning to make sure we were going to get a camping spot in Banff. It was raining on the drive down but by the time we got to Banff it was sunny again. We got there a bit after lunch and campground was almost empty. We set up camp and had lunch. We did pretty good getting the tent and a tarp over the picnic table up and collecting wood for that night’s fire in less than 2 hours. We then headed off for a walk to see the hoodoos in the rockies. It’s a limerock formation the usually has a harder rock cap on top of it so it looks like a series of mushrooms (a quarter from Canada’s 125th has the hoodoos from drumheller on it). The view was really nice although the hoodoos weren’t very impressive at least compared to the ones in drumheller. We then headed to sulphur mountain where you have a choice between a gondola ride and a steep climb so we took the gondola. The girl who sold us the tickets was from laval and use to live a few blocks from my house. The world is small!
It was cool at the bottom on the mountain and even colder at the top. I was wearing a wool sweater, a hoodie and a fleece, some of the kids up there were wearing shorts and wrapped in blankets! The rain we had seen on the drive down was snow at the top of the Sulphur Mountain. So on august 31st we had a snowball fight. You can see the town of Banff in the valley below and so many mountains around. The view was gorgeous. We then went back down the mountain and had a nice dip in the sulphur hot springs that are right next door. It was more than a dip as we stayed in there for about an hour and watched the sun set on the mountains that you see from the pool. Then off to the campsite to make supper.
The next morning we got going rather late and went for a hike at Johnston canyon. The first thing to see are the lower falls. Very nice and the walk up is rather easy. Then there are the upper falls further up that are just as nice if not nicer. That walk takes about a hour or two. But the main reason for going to Johnston canyon was to see the ink pots. They are pools of water that are various shades of green and blue found in a meadow with mountains surrounding the meadow. I remembered going there the last time I was in Banff so it mustn’t have been to hard to get to the ink pots since my mom was along on that trip. The thing I didn’t remember was the hike between the upper falls and the ink pots. It was up hill for a long time, much steeper than I thought, and then down hill for a while before you actually get to the ink pots. Totally worth it! We ate some of the snacks we had brought with us then headed back to the campsite to have supper and a good night sleep.
The next morning it warmed up, only needed about 2 layers of warm clothing. We walked along stewart canyon near lake minnewanka. We saw a deer, the biggest wildlife we saw on the trip although a black bear had been sighted in the area. The place was pretty quiet once you passed to bridge across the canyon because the path got a bit rougher. And at the end was a nice stream where you could just sit and watch nature. We then walked back to the lake and had lunch and headed into town. We walked along most of the streets in banff downtown and did some shopping. Then supper and another trip to the hot springs. It had been so cold during most of our time in the rockies that we had decided to go back to the springs and warm up a bit. The place was absolutely packed! It was Saturday evening after all. It was really hard to find a place to sit on the edge of the pool. We left after about an hour and got to bed early because the next day we were heading to drumheller.
In the morning we packed everything and were out of there in less than 3 hours. A nice drive through the rockies and calgary brought us to the royal tyrell museum. The best dinosaur museum ever! We went around the museum and found out stuff about the history of dinosaur discovery in Alberta and saw really cool skeletons. The place was filled with families. Karen and I felt a bit out of place since anyone our age there was either pregnant or had little kids along with them. We walked on a path that brought us through various badland landscapes. The landscape is beautiful. You can drive along in the prairies through fields of wheat and rye and then all of a sudden the road will go down into a valley that was carved out by the river and reveals the layers of soil that were there before it. The slopes look like a layer cake with different colours of soil. After the walk we headed to the hoodoos. It’s one of my favourite places in drumheller. The difference between the rockies and the badlands is huge but it was even greater since it was about 30 degrees that day while 2 days earlier in Banff we were wearing layers upon layers of warm clothing. After the hoodoos, we drove to Calgary to stay with some friends of the family. We enjoyed a good supper on the balcony while watching the sun set. It was great to sleep in a bed and not worry about whether or not we had enough blankets to keep warm throughout the night.
On Monday we went for a bike ride along the river valley. It’s really cool to be in a huge city and still see the mountains off in the distance. We saw the jets that had flown over the football stadium before the Edmonton-Calgary Labour Day game. We also saw some mounted police get their horses ready for a show nearby. A quick lunch and then a nice drive back to Edmonton.
My mom flew in to Edmonton on the Wednesday and the next day we headed up to the lake. It was really nice to be up there for a few nights. Then back to Edmonton to see the last few ppl I hadn’t seen yet while in town. My grandmother had a book launch on the Sunday, her ninth book, not bad for someone almost 90 yrs old. My cousin came by for supper on Monday with his girlfriend. And then Tuesday it was off to Vancouver.
It was really nice to be back in Edmonton for 3 weeks. It was like being home again and great to catch up with everyone I hadn’t seen in a yr or more.


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